Greater Manchester UK




Early Textile Manufacture in

… Continued

By 1322 there is scant record of a fulling
mill, showing the early beginnings of textile manufacture in
Manchester. This mill was located somewhere alongside the Cathedral,
and the alleyway known as “Hanging Ditch” still marks
the course of the River Irk where it enters the Irwell, where
textiles were hung to drain and drip dry after fulling. The
Grelley manor, (now Chetham’s School of Music), was fortified
on three sides as it overlooked the River Irk on one side, a
tributary ditch on another side and the River Irwell on another
– it was therefore a superb defensive position, standing high
on a sandstone bluff with effective natural defences.
Subsequently, the River Irk was
culvetted below ground under what is now Walkers Croft and Hanging
Ditch. Beside the cathedral one can still see the remains of
“Hanging Bridge” where the medieval bridge crossed Hanging Ditch.
A wooden bridge crossed the Irwell in front of the Manor, and
was replaced by a stone three-arch bridge in the 14th century,
on the site of where Victoria Bridge (built in 1839) now stands.
Manchester became a Baronial Borough
(thereby an independent self-governing entity) in 1301, still
ruled by the Lord of the Manor, but with an appointed “boroughreeve”
(or Mayor) who handled day-to-day administration of the borough.
Manchester was to change very little thereafter until the 16th

The La Warre Family & the foundation of Manchester Cathedral

During the 14th century,
the Manor was held by the de la Warre family. In 1422, Thomas
de la Warre, Lord of the Manor, founded a college, granted by
royal licence (surviving as “Chets” school) and a collegiate
church (now the cathedral).
This new church was to be dedicated
to St. Mary, St. Denys and St. George – both political and diplomatic,
for St. Denys was patron Saint of Paris, echoing the de la Warre’s
French Norman ancestry; St. George, as Patron Saint of England,
shows that the family regarded itself as English (and no longer
Norman French), and St Mary because as yet, Manchester, (and
England), was devotedly Roman Catholic. Extensive rebuilding
of the old church began, in the fashionable perpendicular Gothic
style, and was to continue throughout the following century.
Salford itself, by contrast, came
directly to the Crown in 1399 as part of the Duchy of Lancaster
– Her Majesty the Queen still holds the two titles, “Duke of
Lancaster” and “Lord of the Manor of Salford”.
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This page last updated 13 Jan 13.